Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009, many Americans continue to struggle with excessive medical debt. This is especially true for individuals who develop cancer. Health insurance policies and government programs like Medicare do not always cover the full cost of treatment. For people with existing debt obligations, medical bills from cancer treatments can become a nightmare.
A former Georgia kindergarten teacher diagnosed with breast cancer is facing this type of situation. Despite being insured, her policy won’t cover the full cost of chemotherapy and medication. After her first few rounds of chemotherapy, the former kindergarten teacher owed $4,000 out-of-pocket. She will owe another $4,000 this month.
Prior to her illness, income went towards paying down a mortgage. Unsure of what options remained, the woman turned to online crowdfunding for help with medical bills. So far, more than 113 people have donated $6,855. Why did this woman turn to crowd funding? Cancer treatments cost an average of $120,000 per year. Even when insurance policies or Medicare cover a majority of the costs, treatments are still too expensive for many Americans with existing debt obligations.
People Across the US are Desperate for Help with Medical Bills
The chairman of the leukemia department at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston claimed people abandon cancer treatments due to the high costs and a fear of filing for bankruptcy on medical bills. People are scared of how excessive medical bills will affect their families, and rightfully so. Cancer treatments are extremely expensive.
But what if a person beats cancer? Those thousands in medical bills still exist and can continue to cause problems when it comes to paying mortgages, student loans or other debt obligations. The consequences of ignoring medical bills could include foreclosure and wage garnishments. Medical bills are unsecured debt that can be discharged or greatly reduced in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.